Thanks to our tech-enabled world, the idea of global transparency is more of a reality now than ever. But in an industry as large as fashion, it's still difficult still to know the conditions of many production facilities. That's where the labor conditions group Fair Wear Foundation comes in. The Amsterdam-based nonprofit aims to fully expose the manufacturing process with a verification system to ensure that garments are made under sustainable working environments. As a “multi-stakeholder initiative," they work to get corporate and textile associations, trade unions and non-governmental associations on board too.
With ten years already under their belt, FWF represents many of CH favorite brands from avant-fashion label Acne and Mammut's high-performance wear to Cheap Monday (of affordable skinny jeans fame) and Nudie Jeans (of less affordable designer denim fame). Today the foundation inspects 1,000-plus factories that manufacture garments for 50 labels, helping reassure consumers that, from China to Turkey, fair labor standards are met.
As detailed in their recently-released 2009 annual report, FWF knows they have a long road ahead of them in an industry where most brands don't own their own factories and producing a simple t-shirt can potentially put worker health or safety in danger.